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Half Dome - 2013

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Half Dome - 2013

Postby markskor » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:24 am

New rules are out -
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm

Changes include:
1) limiting the number of bodies daily allowed up via permit... now only 300, (225 day hikers and 75 backpackers) - Last year this number was 400.
2) an $8.00 fee (supposedly this pays for the Ranger salary - the ones who check permits up there...seems high) on top of the $4.50 on-line fee.
3) some kind of daily 50-person permit lottery.
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby markskor » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:16 pm

Things are slow here so…
As this entry date deadline for the new Half Dome lottery approaches - (BTW, Looks a lot like the same bureaucratic cluster-fock that plagues the Whitney System too), many here, novice hikers or perhaps those unfamiliar with the nuances of Yosemite, might be considering doing the Dome for the first time. Some thoughts:
Just getting/reserving a HD permit now will be the main problem – Interest in doing HD grows annually and there are now 25% less pre-reserved spots available as compared to last year. BTW, the accompanying YNP graph says last year, ~21% got their lottery choices…do the math. Let us assume you do get one – there are still many options as how you can do HD best and 3 or more different trailhead alternatives.
Been up there on that damn rock a few times and from 3 different routes and, IMHO, the best way to do the "Dome" is to not do it in one day. I say, be one of the 75 backpackers not one of the 225 day-hikers. OK, if I had to do it again, and after I won my lottery choice, I would:

Option 1 - make it a 3 day adventure. Park/leave the car in the Curry Orchard lot and acclimate in the Valley BP camp (behind the stables) first night... (A great campsite - $5 pp, no reservations needed, safe too…some restrictions apply. BTW, I always/only stay BP camp when in the Valley - so much better than Camp 4 but you must possess a HD Golden ticket, or a wilderness permit or, at least a confirmation letter as Rangers do come around and check…BTW, one night only.) Grab the AM morning bus (~8:00 Curry) and take it up 120 to Tenaya trailhead...gets you up there by 10:30...Easy 1/2 day hike to Lower Sunrise and camp there. Next day meander about/ get up late and eventually stay the second night atop Clouds Rest - (best campsite in all Yosemite+++) but that also entails carrying a gallon plastic milk/water jug or two as last water before CR camp is at the creek ~ 2 miles north of CR. Next day bag the Dome on the way down - through LYV. Suggest staying over at Valley Backpacker site again after Pizza and beer at Curry.

Option 2 - Glacier Point to Nevada Falls and a 2-day trip. Here there are two snags...1) You probably will stay in LYV (which is OK but not wilderness at all) and 2) you have to get up to Glacier Point somehow - bus is expensive - but permits are easier. Always get your “next day” permit first thing...Stay Valley BP first night... grab the 8:30 AM bus and hike Panorama Trail, GP - LYV - a good 4 - 5 hour leisurely hike to LYV - stay here; leave the tent set up and get up early and leave for the Dome before 6:00 AM - summit and back LYV by noon - nap - JMT or Mist down and Curry Pizza by 4:00.

Option 3 – Happy Isles – the busiest, most crowded, and most requested TH – also the shortest trail to HD. Stay Valley BP and next morning Happy Isles Trailhead and up Mist - Nevada Falls trail and stay LYV. Again, leave the tent set up and get up early and leave for the Dome before 6:00 AM - summit and back LYV by noon - nap - JMT down and Curry Pizza by 4:00.

Option 4 – Best - Take a week or two out of Tuolumne, JMT works too and eventually come down through LYV. While there, might as well do the Dome.

Option 5 - If you must, do it all in one day – death march it - but you will miss out on so much, but yes, you can say you did it.

On another note – This new $8 pp fee at first seemed a bit high but on more thought, actually seems cheap. (300 x $8 = $2400 a day…x 100 days = $240,000 per summer.)
Obviously changes are being made and more importantly, further improvements are needed. Why not specifically charge those who use the HD trail for these much-needed improvements to the trail? $20 pp fee to day-hike HD would not seem overly excessive, provided the “extra” fees collected would all go to trail improvements. Take the HD corridor out of the wilderness designation (It isn’t) and then specify this added day-hike revenue would go to the building and maintenance of another 2-story crapper, a higher one - desperately needed – just below the cables.
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:32 am

markskor wrote:On another note – This new $8 pp fee at first seemed a bit high but on more thought, actually seems cheap. (300 x $8 = $2400 a day…x 100 days = $240,000 per summer.)
Obviously changes are being made and more importantly, further improvements are needed. Why not specifically charge those who use the HD trail for these much-needed improvements to the trail? $20 pp fee to day-hike HD would not seem overly excessive, provided the “extra” fees collected would all go to trail improvements.


I agree. Eight bucks is almost nothing. It would cost me 70 - 80 bucks in gas just to get to the park. All things considered Yosemite is a real value.

Markskor, thanks for your great advice. It reflects the knowledge of a seasoned outdoorsman and could be invaluable to many. Just another great example of why I, and others read this sight. :)

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby freestone » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:36 am

Thanks Mark!!! When a person has a permit to do HD, does he/she also have a Wilderness permit in hand, or are those two separate permit applications?

Oh, I forgot, A Fire Permit as well? As I recall, that is part of the Wilderness permit?
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:56 am

Campfire permits are part of the wilderness permit--but ony where fires are allowed.
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:05 am

freestone wrote:Thanks Mark!!! When a person has a permit to do HD, does he/she also have a Wilderness permit in hand, or are those two separate permit applications?


The other way around - Previously if you had a WP, you could then get the HD pass just by asking at the permit desk but... now looks like two separate permit applications and this is what I alluded to when now referring to the Half Dome Cluster-Fock conundrum. Bottom line is you now must have a HD Pass to do the Dome cables.
Just looking at the numbers shows 3/4 of these HD Magic Golden Tickets are designated day-hikers...1/4 go to backpackers. Are all these "1/4" reserved or are some held back, next-day, and just available for asking?
Do all HD passes now go through the lottery? If they all are and if you are a backpacker (and hopefully all you kids in the HST Peanut Gallery reading this are!), this seems to mean that if you want to backpack/overnight in the Yosemite wilderness and do the Dome along the way (highly recommended), reserving a specific wilderness permit date (which you can do 6 months in advance) would be pointless/now impossible without knowing your exact HD date, which will not be known until after the March lottery.
Last season (and maybe this year too but not clearly addressed in the latest YNP release) anyone with a valid Wilderness Permit whose route happened to go by HD - all they had to do was ask for the HD sticker when picking up their WP and it was automatic. Are these passes still part of the 1/4, or now are all pre-reserved, quota-ed? Hopefully things will be the same...thus actually easier to Backpack HD legally using a "next day" wilderness permit method mid week than to day-hike it through the lottery process but... with the addition of the "Daily 50 Lottery" mentioned...not so sure what it all means...two agencies involved.
So, stay tuned I guess...confused...as usual.
Mark
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby snusmumriken » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:11 pm

Here are the rules for backpackers doing HD as part of their trip.
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdwildpermits.htm
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:54 am

A cheaper strategy for permit from Glacier Point. Drive up to Glacier Point, walk to Little Yosemite Valley (or go on to Sunrise Creek to avoid Little Yosemite Valley). Second day do Half Dome (perhaps Clouds Rest too)-walk back to backpackers CG (you get to stay one night before and/or one night after). Get up early AM, take shuttle to trailhead and day-hike up 4 mile trail to retrieve your car. Four Mile Trail with no pack is not that bad.

What do they say now about doing Half Dome when the cables are down? I have done all but one Half Dome climb when cables were down. Do you now need a special permit? (PS - not recommended unless you have rock climbing experience).
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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby Radgnar » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:02 am

Looking at the numbers, obtaining a day hike permit looks grim. I will be applying for one for a day hike in late May. And I thought getting a valley floor campsite was hard enough but it looks like the real challenge will be getting a half dome permit.

Based on the permit details, it looks like everyone in your party can request a permit of up to 6 people. If for some reason all your members get a permit, you are able to receive a full refund of the $8 per person. Granted, you lose a whopping $4 transaction fee (big deal). Maybe this is why the request for permits is so high? I believe they shouldn't offer full refunds for this reason kind of like the Whitney Lottery.

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Re: Half Dome - 2013

Postby Radgnar » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:24 am

Edit to my last post:

The new Whitney lottery allows you to apply for multiple applications with 15 different start dates. You are not charged until you win the lottery and "accept" the application online. You are only then charged the $15 per person.

So you can now use a barrage of applications and only lose out on $6 per application. Very similiar to the new half dome lottery. I bet the number of applications will be record breaking.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Cody

More details over at the Whitney forums.
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthread ... #Post29550
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